I believe that my primary role as an educator is to nurture critical understanding of media technologies and society. When talking with students about the affects of digital media in human interaction, different technological appropriations of media in politics and art, I provide them with a repertoire of information and I expect them to observe, interpret, extrapolate the information they are being exposed to and propose critical readings of such complex media ecologies. As an expert in the field of Digital Media I provide students with resources, but my worth as a teacher is defined by my capacity to foster a student's autonomy and ownership of the learning process. Once in the classroom, I aim to create a learning environment that makes students comfortable and confident to speak their minds. I believe that giving them opportunity to manifest their opinions freely helps them learn about effective listening, analysis, negotiating concepts and reaching consensus. Most of all, I believe that it is the responsibility of the teacher to be ready to plan, adjust, lead, listen, to be available for consulting and correction.
My approach to teaching and learning is founded upon the following principles:
Collaboration: I believe that dialogue and open discussion are key components to foster a collaborative learning environment. Moreover, I believe that collective work is richer when it incorporates diversity of perspectives. As I am working on my lesson plans I incorporate activities that allow the students to explore different layers of knowledge construction: theoretical reflection, observation, application, testing and evaluation. I find that incorporating real life problem solving into lesson plans also allows the students expand their learning experience beyond the physical space of the classroom and visualize practical applications of knowledge.
Diversity: I am particularly sensitive to cultural diversity and to differences in learning styles. I believe that learning environments that purposefully engage with issues of cultural diversity tend to shape students with more open minds, with greater sense of respect to the other and stronger sense of self-value. I am invested in creating an inclusive and respectful classroom environment, making the classroom a safe environment for all students in which they can succeed.
Focus on learning: Different cultural environments, institutional practices and resources reminds me that each teaching/learning experience is unique. Attention to different learning styles is also key to ensure that all students are being given a fair opportunity to learn. Every time I enter a class for the first time I make the effort to know more about the students. Where they are from, what are their beliefs, their expectations... To learn about them and about how they learn better helps me define how I am going to better lead them into learning the content made available during the course.
Practice-oriented: I also like to present the students with the opportunity to learn creatively, experimenting with different media and interdisciplinary content. Being a researcher that is very interested in new technologies, arts and social practices, I find it very useful, for example, to explore print, audiovisual and digital modes of inscription. I ask students to write text based reflections but I also ask them to use mental maps to provide a scalar understanding of the topics of discussion. I believe that reflecting on the social implications of technology appropriation as well as encouraging students to experiment with different media, enhances their learning experience as they use it as a method to interpret, analyze realities and test concepts.
Gradual Assessment: I believe that the choice of assessment should be defined accordingly to the level of maturity of the classroom. Processual assessment is as important as the assessment of milestones, therefore I use classroom assessment techniques frequently. They inform me about the content apprehension and also allow me to assess my teaching and the level of engagement of the classroom. I recognize the importance of group work at the same time that I believe in individual assessment. For that I usually combine group projects with individual reflection.